Manchester United clinched another three points over the weekend with an away win at Fulham that now puts them nine points clear of their noisy neighbors. City drew at home and needed a late mistake from Liverpool Goalkeeper Pepe Reina in order to secure a point with the draw. The gap between the two Manchester clubs is growing, and the question becomes, can the gap be closed?
City has their work cut out for them. They still have away matches at United and Tottenham, along with a home game against Chelsea. Captain Vincent Kompany is going to be out another couple of weeks, and they just sold striker Mario Balotelli to AC Milan. The Blues also didnt make any big splashes in the January transfer window.
On the other side of town United has been on a tear as of late. They haven’t lost in the Premier League since November 17th at Norwich. Along with their great form lately they have a relatively weak schedule the rest of the way. The only real challenge remaining is away at Arsenal, who havent been in the best form recently. And the scary thing about United is that they seem to be improving upon their defense which was plaguing them so badly early on in the season. Since December 26th against Newcastle they havent allowed more than a goal in a Premier League match. With the firepower United possesses in Wayne Rooney, Robin Van Persie, Danny Wellbeck, and Chicharito, scoring a goal or more isnt very difficult. The Red Devils easily lead the league in goals with 60, nine more than second place Chelsea.
The fact is that while United continue to improve, City continue to stay stagnate. Even if City won every match the rest of the way (highly unlikely), they would still need United to lose three matches just to tie (more unlikely). With a favorable schedule for United and their improved play you can nearly pencil them in for another Premier League title. The real competiton the rest of the season will be for second, as well as securing a top four spot in the league in order to qualify for a Champions League birth.